You hear an awful lot about the Disney Way, the Culture of Disney, and how wonderful it is to work for Disney. Can it really be that wonderful?
Well, not long ago, I spent 2 full days — I mean 13 hours a day — at Disneyland in California. This was not an intentional experiment, but rather a promise fulfilled to our daughter. We spent the evening at The Grand Californian Hotel inside the park. It is the newest hotel inside Disneyland and an impressive place. The question posed, however, is whether Disney employees are really as happy, as is commonly thought. This is based on both observation and direct inquiry. The answer is yes! Disney employees are happy, engaged, and they really enjoy what they do and where they do it!
I made it a point to talk to many employees around both Disneyland and the companion park, Great Adventure. Because there are so many employees available to help, rather than use a map to navigate, I took advantage of the opportunity to interact with the Disney team by asking for directions.
All the employees we spoke with were very helpful as well as pleasant. But it was the genuine interest each took in making sure we were enjoying ourselves as well as their effort to point out something extra we should be sure to stop by along the way that was the true example of going the extra mile.
One employee interaction, however, made the biggest impact on my impression of the Disney Culture. I had a conversation in a restaurant with one of the employees. He had worked at Disney for five years. When I asked him to tell me what the best thing was about working at Disney he said it was the History of Disney and the culture — a place where everyone truly enjoys their job! He went on to say at first he was a “knucklehead.” When I inquired as to what that meant for him, he was quick to tell me about his shift in attitude during his time working at Disney. He mentioned that when he started working there he was late a lot. He called in sick a lot. Finally he realized he was not going to get anywhere in Disney with that approach to his job, so he made a conscious effort to change his attitude toward his job and his responsibilities. He understands the vast difference between where he was and where he is now.
The culture of your firm is initially dictated by your vision, and is ultimately maintained by the team you employ. The Disney culture is instilled in each employee at Disney and it shows to all the park visitors, which makes their experience at “The Happiest Place on Earth” just that — happy. What does the experience of your clients say about your law firm culture?
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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